Considering a New Carpet? What You Should Know

New Carpet SelectionThe carpet selection process is not an easy one. Considering the fact that buying and installing a new carpet is an actual investment, style and budget are not the only determining factors. There are several more to consider. In order to ‘shop smart’, you may have to, pause for a moment and take note of a few, if not all, of the following tidbits. We are confident that these tips will help you make the right choice, an informed decision!

Carpets are typically distinguished by the following 4 basic features:

  1. Fibers: There are five main fiber types:
  • Olefin (polypropylene) – These fibers are soft and water resistant BUT they have the tendency to melt at rather low temperatures.
  • Nylon – This is one of the strongest fibers. Relative to ‘feel’, they range from really soft to coarse. These fibers are typically resilient and tend to burn slowly.
  • Polyester – These fibers are stain resistant and tend to burn slowly. They typically feel soft and silky.
  • Wool – These fibers are also stain resistant BUT they can be easily damaged by sunlight and are NOT typically resistant to water, thus making them susceptible to mold and mildew.
  • Triexta – These fibers are typically soft, fluffy and stain resistant. Relative to strength, they are typically comparable to nylon fibers
  1. Production process:

The length of the fibers and how tight their yarns are tend to make a difference in their overall resistance. There are hand-made and machine-made carpets. That being said, if you are interested in rugs, you might want to research their origins prior to purchasing. Persian and Oriental rugs are considered the best in the world!

There are 5 main ways carpets are constructed:

  • Berber carpets are usually made of olefin fibers, which remain uncut and looped at the same height. This process makes them highly resistant and therefore recommended for high traffic areas.
  • Pattern carpets mix cuts and loops to create a sculptured result, which is soft and can be easily maintained. These are typically recommended for bedrooms and sitting rooms.
  • Frieze construction basically includes what we call shag rugs. These have a twisted cut pile, which make them resistant and durable. The seams are typically hidden due to the long fibers. They are typically recommended for basements and high traffic areas.
  • Texture carpets typically have cut and twisted fibers, which makes them fluffy. They come in a different thicknesses and tend to hide footprints. These are typically recommended for all living spaces.
  • Saxony carpets are also known as plush. Each yarn is twisted to make the carpet soft. These are typically recommended for bedrooms and living rooms.
  1. Colors and patterns:

Most types of carpets come in several colors and patterns depending on their manufacturing process. The choice of style and color has to do with your personal aesthetics. To help you make a wise choice, try to match your color of choice with furniture, drapes and wall color of the room that you would like to have the carpet installed. To make a relatively dull room cheerful, you can enhance the latter’s ambience with a fairly brightly colored carpet. Please note however, that neutral shades are the popular preference for small rooms.

  1. Maintenance:

Carpet cleaning is not the easiest feat when you have kids, pets, overcrowded rooms and hard-to-maintain carpets. It is therefore best to choose carpets, which are typically resistant to water, fire and stains. Freebie: During installation of your new carpet, it is imperative that you do not forget to lay padding underneath. Carpet padding typically help carpets last longer and protect the sub-floor, in the event of water damage.

How about ecofriendly carpets?

There are also ‘green’ carpet choices out there made from natural materials, like organic wool and cotton, bamboo and seagrass. These are typically biodegradable and do not require much fertilizer during their production, contrary to nylon and other synthetic carpets that require large amounts of petroleum for their manufacture. Recycled carpets made from materials, like recycled plastic beverage bottles are another option for your consideration.

So, before you shop around for a new carpet, ask tons of questions and ask yourself:

  • Do I need this carpet for a high traffic area?
  • Do I have children and/or pets?
  • Will the carpet be installed in direct access to the outdoors?
  • Is this room particularly humid?
  • Does this room get direct sunlight from plenty of openings?

Once you honestly answer these questions, you will most likely know what you are looking for.

Good hunting!

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